The Abundance Projects: A Year of Giving (2018 Review)

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As we close out this year, I have nothing but deep gratitude to you and to all. We were able to publicly prove the efficacy of the abundance mindset once more. This year we were able to donate twice as much as last year! Do good, receive good in return, share your extras, plant more seeds of prosperity, see the cycle continue.

What are The Abundance Projects?

Instead of scraping every last penny of profit out of the organization (the Global Martial Arts University and Black Belt at Home), or reinvesting purely in our own growth – we’ve chosen a different path. If you didn’t know, we donate a portion of our monthly proceeds to people and projects in need. This is not about getting some tax deduction or trying to look good. We don’t usually publicize the donations or seek some sort of charitable spotlight.

What we do, is pass along the abundance to people in great need – so that a virtuous cycle can continue. Pass it forward, if you will.

“I’ll Start Giving When I Make More Money”

This is the trap of lack that keeps you stuck, that keeps everyone limited and grasping at straws. When I started The Abundance Projects purely as a personal, private mission (not something to be publicized), I began to see my life’s work grow and attract more people. Only an open hand can receive – which also means that you are giving. This sounds basic and extremely logical even, but it goes against human nature. We have been hardwired to store up for the winter, to protect our family, and to fight fiercely for what we own. I posit that if we give, even when it appears that we are on our last loaf of bread, that we will be better off for it.

Year in Review

Each month, we actively look for people or projects in need. Sometimes, we ask our facebook followers if they know of anyone who needs help, or a charity worth supporting. You can always send us a donation request here.

Below is a list of the organizations that we were able to support this year, with the monetary total next to them.

  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – $683
  • Give Directly – $2,375
  • The Hope Chest – $66.60
  • Grace Fellowship – $575
  • Heifer International – $418
  • Genesis Center – $348
  • Kiva – $340
  • Wildlife Alliance – $200
  • Miracle Foundation – $102
  • Fallen Officer Fund – $50.00
  • Brooklyn Food (gofundme) – $50.00
  • Homeless Man in Texas (gofundme) – $50.00
  • Down Syndrome Guild – $50.00
  • Still Waters – $50.00
  • Patriot Paws – $75.00
  • Cade Pearson Benefit – $100.00
  • Frontline Ministry – $50.00
  • Operation Smile – $120.00
  • Drop in the Bucket – $80.00
  • SPCA Texas – $135.00
  • Kaufman Christian Help Center – $32.00
  • Hurricane Florence Assistance (gofundme) $100.00
  • Life Church Amelia (to help buy stove for soup kitchen) – $250.00
  • Honoring Veterans – $25.00
  • Special Needs Mom in Need (gofundme) – $100.00
  • Helping Hands Paws – $50.00
  • Miracle Foundation – $102.00
  • Room to Read – $202
  • Monetary Total – $7,010

GMAU Scholarships

Another way we were able to make an impact, is through awarding a round of scholarships to the Global Martial Arts University. These were either low cost or no tuition cost scholarships, that have given some students that would otherwise not be able to train with us, the opportunity to transform their lives through martial arts.

Kids Academy Community Projects

I also run a small kids-only private academy. Since I have three small kids of my own, I wanted to have a place for them to train, and to help create the new wave of future leaders and community impacters. On top of intense martial arts training, the students are exposed to an important character topic each month. The students complete the homework assignment, along with an action assignment. Below are just a few ways our small group of students were able to make a positive impact in our rural town. If you are a martial arts teacher, maybe you will consider doing something similar with your students?

Compassion

In order to truly understand compassion, each student was to go somewhere and show compassion to someone in need. Some students visited a retirement home with balloons and flowers just to brighten the residents’ day. Some visited an animal shelter and assisted with any chores that needed to be done. One student visited an elderly neighbor that tends to get quite lonely. The students also took a photo during their visit to share with the class.

Abundance

One month, we learned about the word abundance. To simplify this concept, I talked about being a farmer. Let’s say that your family grows corn, and had a very large crop this year. And your neighbors grow carrots, but they were hit with insects that destroyed most of their carrots. Would you give them some of your extra corn?

For their action assignment, the students donated specific food items that were in need to a local food bank.

Team Gratitude Project

For teamwork, we had a variety of games/drills in class that showed students the importance of being there for one another. I also had each student create his or her own combination and practice it with a teammate. On the day of the stripe test, they demonstrated their team combinations. Outside of the class, we had a gratitude project, where each student was to write a thank you note for either a firefighter, police officer, or road maintenance worker. We then created three “jumbo” thank you cards and delivered them to these departments.

A Ticket for Your Charity of Choice

If a student has good behavior and good effort, they earn a ticket. I hand these out at the end of every class – students really, really want to earn their ticket. Each ticket is equal to a $1 donation. They then go over to our 4 charity boxes, and get to choose who to help that day. At the end of every three months, we make a donation based upon the tickets in each box, and change to a new group of charities. This empowers students to choose which cause matters most to them, and to connect their hard work training with positive change in the world.

How Can You Help?

Everytime you purchase a training course from us, pay for your rank exam, tuition, or even buy a t-shirt – you are supporting The Abundance Projects. The more you train and support us, the more good you are also doing in in the world.

Is that not enough for you? Why not start your own abundance project? Maybe you have a soft spot in your heart for stray animals, for marginalized youth, or those without access to basic healthcare? Who do you want to help?

Let me know in the comments below how you plan on sharing your abundance with others. Even if you don’t think you have much to share, guess what, you do!

Michael Hodge, Director of The Abundance Projects
Written by Michael Hodge
I am a Lead Instructor at the Global Martial Arts University. I live with my three energetic kids and wonderful wife on a prairie in Texas. I also lead The Abundance Projects.